Pushing Our Youngest Learners

in Early Childhood in the News

My heart sank as I read the article. The 2 year old sat at a small table. She looked perplexed as she matched capital and lower case letter chips on a letter board. On command, she named her letter matches. Next, she read aloud numbers on a worksheet and traced them with a pencil.

When does this 2-year-old talk? Play? Explore? Create?

In Fast-Tracking to Kindergarten?, Kate Zernike reports that academic learning centers and franchises are expanding. Parents fear their children will not be ready for preschool without structured, intense curriculum. So big business trumps what’s best for our youngest minds: play and the profound learning that goes with it.

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, psychologist at Temple University, agrees about play. “When you’re learning how to balance things and calculate how tall you can make your building, you’re learning how to be a physicist. Having your child drill and kill and fill in worksheets at 2 and 3 and 4 does not give your child a leg up on anything.”

There is plenty of time for this child to be a reader, but only one short year to be two.

In my next post, look for healthy ingredients to grow a child’s learning potential.

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